Tuesday Draft Notes -- 7.0

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

Another top-rated prospect is close to picking an agent from what we’ve been told, while two more small-school corners are garnering the attention of league scouts. Here is your weekly dose of Tuesday Draft Notes.

Sources tell me Penn State running back Saquon Barkley plans to enter next April’s draft and has narrowed down who will represent him. It should come as no surprise that Barkley, presently ranked second on our big board, will declare for the 2018 draft. Once his choice of agent is made official, that should come as no surprise either.

Moving across the state, I’ve been told that Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O'Neill is considering entering next April’s draft and plans to go through the process of attaining a grade from the advisory committee and gathering opinions from scouts. I’m told that if he receives an early-round grade, O’Neill will enter the draft.

The junior was ranked by Draft Analyst in the preseason but has had his ups and downs this year after moving to left tackle. O’Neill has nice size and flashes terrific athleticism yet has been streaky and shows a bit of stiffness in his game. I don’t expect him to receive an early grade from the advisory committee, but the crop of offensive tackles in next year’s draft and free agent class looks weak, which could factor into the decision.

I’m told defensive lineman Harrison Phillips and running back Bryce Love will likely exit Stanford and enter the draft once the season is complete.

Few see much reason for Love to stick around for another season based on his results this year. People I spoke with believe Love is a better pure ball carrier than former teammate Christian McCaffrey, who was the eighth pick of the 207 draft by the Carolina Panthers last April.

Phillips presently grades as a middle to late-round pick, and many feel he may not improve his draft stock all that much by returning to Stanford for another season.

Last week we alerted readers to the rise of small school corner D'Montre Wade of Murray State. Two more cornerbacks from FBS schools have impressed scouts, though to a lesser extent.

Taron Johnson of Weber State has been impressive during the first half of the season, breaking up seven passes and intercepting one to date. His technique, ability to quickly transition with a flip of his hips and overall ball skills should lock up a place for Johnson in the late rounds.

Donovan Olumba of Portland State, a teammate of Week 1 riser Chris Seisay, has also turned a few heads. The transfer from Division II Alderson-Broaddus University was not rated by scouts entering the season but has impressed for the Vikings this year. Olumba offers terrific size (about 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds) and has flashed ball skills. 

He’s broken up six passes in seven games this season, but opposing quarterbacks have purposely thrown away from him. Area scouts say predraft 40 times will be critical for both Seisay and Olumba, as there is a concern about the speed of each player.